It’s the second day of January 2014 – a brand new year with brand new possibilities and brand new experiences that will unfold in the coming months. At the moment we’re bracing for some of the coldest temperatures this part of the country has seen in decades.
Yesterday’s walk through our favorite cemetary was brisk (at 33 degrees) but dressed in longer coats, gloves, hats and scarves, it’s a quiet place with little traffic. Birds flit from one tree to the next and multiple families of squirrels scavage the ground looking for acorns; it’s also beautiful, peaceful and restorative – just what we both needed.
But today evergreen branches peak from beneath a blanket of white, bluebird boxes now wear white caps and the heater has been placed in the Koi pond; Starlings, Blue Jays, Juncos, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers and striking red Cardinals swoop in and and out at the feeders and the brown-papered hydrangeas of Fall are now heavy with white – bobbing back-and-forth, up-and-down, in the wind.
The Professor and I are tucked safely away inside, heat turned up a bit more than usual, the cats curled around one another in any vessel they find available while the scent of cinnamon, cardomom and maple syrup waft from the kitchen. More snow is on the way Sunday and along with it, estimated low temperatures of -25 degrees.
I don’t expect to be venturing out over the next couple of days but that just means more snuggling with The Professor, pretty cups filled with lattes . . . and this gluten-free winter-spiced granola.
Happy New Year!
NOTE: Using pure maple syrup makes this granola far less cloyingly sweet and plays nicely with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom; leaving it in chunks makes for wonderful dipping into morning yogurt or an afternoon latte.
GLUTEN-FREE WINTER SPICE GRANOLA
Adapted from Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee
Makes approximately 6 cups of granola
- 4 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats
- 1-1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1-1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt – if you substitute kosher or fine sea salt, reduce the amount to scant less than ½ teaspoon
- 1 cup of pure maple syrup, grade B preferred
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees
- Line 2 sheet pans with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray; set one aside for 2nd baking
- In a large bowl add gluten-free oats, nuts, spices and Maldon salt; mix well with hands until oats and nuts are coated with spices
- In a medium bowl, add maple syrup, olive oil and vanilla paste; mix well until blended
- Add maple syrup mixture to oats and blend until well coated
- Pour oat mixture out onto one of the sheet pans and with the back of a large spoon, press mixture firmly so that it’s flat and completely covers the pan
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes without stirring; remove pan from oven, place 2nd sheet pan, foil side down, over the top of the granola and flip it over so now the bottom becomes the top
- Remove foil from the granola keeping as much of it in whole pieces as possible; return to the oven and bake for another hour
- Remove from the oven and cool completely; break into large chunks
- Store in glass jar
- Serve as a snack or with yogurt or a cup of great coffee!